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DAMON, PYTHIAS, AND THE TEST OF FRIENDSHIP  by Teresa Bateman

DAMON, PYTHIAS, AND THE TEST OF FRIENDSHIP

By Teresa Bateman (Author) , Layne Johnson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8075-1445-0
Publisher: Whitman

A tyrant’s coldness jeopardizes the lives of two Syracusan youths. In the fourth century BCE, the small island of Sicily is ruled by the Greek commander Dionysus. A ruthless warrior who climbed from the ranks to his current position, he is known for his cruelty and lack of trust; to Dionysus, true friendship is a myth. A brave young man named Pythias speaks out against the tyrant in the marketplace. Getting wind of this, Dionysus arrests him for treason and sentences him to death. Damon offers to take his best friend Pythias’s place in prison while Pythias makes the lengthy journey home to say goodbye to his elderly parents. Weeks pass and Pythias does not return; has Damon been a fool for trusting in his friend? The story’s ending might surprise young readers. Bateman’s retelling of the ancient fable is measured and lucid; Johnson’s bright paintings add clarity, though his studied compositions lack movement and his “ragged, travel-worn” Pythias looks a little too clean. An unusual tale to bring to children, but worthwhile. (Picture book. 7-10)